GUEST POST - Chloe Seager talks about making and maintaining friends...

Hi Everyone, I continue my #Bk2Skool September (I finally came up with a cool hashtag name for it.) If this is your first post that you have seen of my blog then here's a brief catch you up. 

#Bk2Skool September was created by me as I work in a school, a librarian. I see first hand what it's like going to school for the first time with a new cohort of Year 7s, but also to those who are going back to school, starting their GCSEs etc. So I've asked some of favourite authors that explore school life in their books. 

Last week I had Tamsin Winter, author of Being Miss Nobody discussing her top tips to starting secondary school. Today I have the lovely Chloe Seager author of Editing Emma and her latest book Friendship Fails of Emma Nash talking about the heart of her book, friendships and how scary it can be fitting in, finding friends, or keeping the ones you've had for years. Here is a bit more about her book. 

Emma Nash is back….and determined to work out the world of friendships and relationships once and for all (…ish).

Now she’s in the sixth form, Emma’s expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she’s spending more time with Emma’s not sure what to do with herself.

So Emma’s got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity. Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma’s fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again.

Would going back to creating a life for herself online reaaaaaallllyyy be so bad?

School Friendships

In Friendship Fails of Emma Nash, Emma is navigating not only trying to find new friends at school, but also keeping on top of her existing ones. I definitely went through many friendship highs and lows during my teen years, so here are some of my top tips for making and maintaining friends at school.

1. Take your time choosing

When you start a new school/college, there’s a lot of pressure to ‘make friends’ straightaway. I’ve heard that statistically, you’re 90% likely to make friends with the first person you sit next to in a new school. This doesn't make me think, ‘oh wow, how lucky that 90% of us instantly sit next to a BFF,’ it makes me think that some people must surely settle with the first person they meet. With all the pressure and fear that surrounds entering a new place it’s totally understandable, but try to talk to as many people as possible; you want to make sure you’re making the right lifelong friends.

2. Be brave about switching groups

If you do end up feeling you’ve chosen the wrong friends somewhere down the line, it can feel an awful and impossible task to change them. After starting school in Year 7, I didn’t find the right friendship group for me until I was in Year 9. That is two whole years of shifting groups. It involved a lot of guilt (about leaving people behind who were perfectly nice, I just didn’t feel the ‘chemistry’ with), a lot of nastiness (when I’d accidentally fallen in with some very mean girls) and a lot of loneliness (during shifts, and from hanging out with people I didn’t really click with). I began to think the problem was me; that friends who were right for me didn’t exist. Then I tried moving on one last time, and bam! I found girls who were lovely, clever, fun and just the right amount of dorky for me.

3. Remember school friendships are intense

In a way, friendships when you’re at school are unlike any other, because school is such a big part of your life. You might walk into school with your friends, sit next to them all day, walk back together and hang out together in the evening to watch TV or do homework together. You might even hang out on weekends and in the summer holidays, too. As a teenager you don’t realise it, but THAT IS A LOT. It’s natural that sometimes you’re going to get on each other’s nerves and fall out. It’s unavoidable that things will get blown out of proportion. Arguments will happen, so try not to blow the thing that got blown out of proportion, out of proportion…if you see what I mean. The storm will pass and if your friends are good friends, you’ll resolve problems between you.

4. Communicate

You won’t resolve problems without talking to each other (calmly) about what’s gone wrong and how to change it in future. It took me a long time to discover this and this actually isn’t just a tip for school friendships; once I learnt it, I carried it into my friendships for the rest of my life.

5. If BFFs don't happen at school, don’t beat yourself up

For some people finding amazing friendships happens as soon as they join a new school, for some (like me) it takes time, and for others it happens at university or during their adult life. If it’s not happening don’t place blame on yourself; it’s not you, it’s just that you haven’t found ‘your people’ yet. If your people aren’t at school that’s ok - they might be outside it; on your street, at an after-school club, or on Twitter! Keep looking and trying, because they are out there.

Thank you so much Chloe for guest posting on my blog. One thing I couldn't agree more is 'don't beat yourself up'. I promise it gets better when you out of school. 

Chloe Seager grew up in East London with her Mum and much-loved cat, Katie. She studied English Literature and Drama at the University of East Anglia, where she sadly realised she couldn't act, but did rediscover her love of children's books. Children's Literature was one of her favourite modules, and it made her wonder why grown-ups ever stopped reading them. She now works with them full-time as a YA/Children's literary agent at Diane Banks Associates, and lives back in East London with her boyfriend and pet fish. Editing Emma is her first novel.
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